After three consecutive billion-dollar weeks, the pace slowed, with just $381 million in burdens. Regulators imposed $28 million in annualized costs against $7 million in benefits and more than 450,000 paperwork burden hours. The Department of Transportation (DOT) led all other agencies in costs this week. The per capita regulatory burden for 2015 is $490.
After years of acrimonious fights between industry, states, environmentalists, and the administration, EPA has issued final ozone standards. The revised measure lowers the current threshold from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 ppb. Environmentalists had called for a figure as low as 60, which would have cost up to $39 billion. Today’s final rule will impose “just” $1.4 billion in annual costs, exclusive of California.
This rule will save states and businesses more than $150 million during the next decade and cut almost 200,000 paperwork hours. Although the monetary savings aren’t as great as the proposed version, the final rule is a welcome respite in what has become a steady stream of high-priced regulations.
Another week brought another opportunity for regulators to impose more than one billion dollars in burdens. For the third straight week, regulators obliged the American public. Regulatory burdens accelerated by $1 billion, with $71 million in annual burdens, and $60 million in benefits. Regulators proposed more than 400,000 new paperwork hours. The per capita regulatory burden for 2015 is $489.
Generally, regulators exist to address a fundamental market failure. However, American Action Forum (AAF) research has found since 2001 regulators have been forced to make 1,829 corrections to federal rulemakings, an average of 130 annually. In the context of all federal rules, the “regulatory error rate” exceeds 3.5 percent.
As part of its Policy in 60 Seconds video series, the American Action Forum today released a new video focusing on the fiduciary regulation and its impact on retirement savers. The regulation, issued by the Department of Labor, imposes new standards for financial advisers and a recent study by AAF found that it will ultimately hurt investors by forcing them to pay $1500 in duplicative fees per account.
After $14 billion in regulatory costs, regulators managed to add another $5.3 billion in burdens. Beyond the staggering regulatory costs, rulemakings also imposed 7.7 million paperwork burden hours. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) led the week, with two food safety final rules. In addition, EPA’s oil and gas methane proposal finally landed in the Federal Register. The per capita regulatory burden for 2015 is $486.
Since 2009, the Obama Administration has finalized 2,519 rules at a total regulatory burden of $674.1 billion, and adding 435.5 million hours of paperwork. With a new regulation imposing $263 million daily, it is hardly a surprise that the business community has descended on Capitol Hill looking for assistance. The Hill newspaper reports that "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Monday sent a letter to members of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee voicing broad support for the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015."
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released a final set of revisions for “Risk-Based Preventive Controls” for human food and animal food. Together, the two regulations are 1,596 pages and will cost $4.7 billion.
In a short week, regulators still managed to publish more than $14 billion in regulatory costs. Annual burdens were $1.5 billion, compared to $291 million in benefits. Paperwork grew by 13.4 million hours, led by an Affordable Care Act proposal and a measure to protect human subjects in research. The per capita regulatory burden for 2015 is $469.
Recent air pollution data and regulatory actions by the Obama Administration demonstrate that Americans are paying more for less. Between 2005 to 2009, the nation experienced a decline of 11,116 days of moderate to hazardous air pollution (across all jurisdictions). During the Obama Administration, this decline slowed to 3,897 fewer days of moderate to hazardous pollution, despite the economic recession and billions of dollars more in regulatory costs. From 2009 to present, EPA regulations, primarily to reduce air emissions, have added more than $295 billion in net present value costs, while air pollution’s decline is not nearly as pronounced as in the past. That’s roughly $75 million spent for each day of cleaner air.
Today, the administration revealed a $13 billion proposed rule with every cabinet agency participating in the release. This 131-page behemoth would aim to amend the “Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects,” and despite its costs, would somehow reduce burdens and ambiguity.
Regulatory costs inched along again this week, with $362 million in new burdens. Annual burdens were $28 million, compared to $105 million in benefits; regulators added slightly more than 42,000 paperwork hours. The per capita regulatory burden for 2015 is $425.
On the heels of President Obama’s $8.4 billion “Clean Power Plan,” policymakers have started offering more details about their energy and regulatory plan. One plan calls for a 700 percent increase in solar power, from about 20 gigawatts (GW) of projected generation by 2020, to 140 GW. This seven-fold increase in solar capacity won’t be cheap. According to American Action Forum (AAF) calculations, it will cost up to $240 billion to install this additional solar capacity by 2020. The climate benefits, always uncertain and dependent on the discount rate, vary between $6.1 billion and $18.3 billion annually.
As support slowly builds for a regulatory budget in the House and Senate, it’s important to take note of the possible benefits of a proper cost accounting for the regulatory state. A high-end scenario, for a true one-in-one-out budget, could save the nation $98.7 billion in annual regulatory burdens.